For anyone of the 5 and 10 million Americans who suffer from fibromyalgia, winter can be extremely difficult. As we’ve discussed before, fibromyalgia has a variety of symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, all of which are often exacerbated by winter’s frigid temperatures, short, grey days, and rapid changes in barometric pressure. It’s enough for anyone suffering from the chronic pain disorder to go running for the covers where they can hibernate until warmer weather arrives.
Unfortunately for most of us, we can’t just shutter ourselves away or run off to a warmer climate. We have families to raise, work to do, bills to pay, walkways to shovel. Because we have to keep on keeping on, here are some tips to survive winter for anyone who suffers from this debilitating condition.
This seems obvious, but it’s worth saying: Dress for the season. Wear layers that can be peeled off when too hot, or thrown back on when too cold. Of course, it’s a good idea not to bundle up too tightly, as that can cut off circulation. Also, when going outside, use some hand warmers inside gloves. The extra heat will help to keep your blood circulating normally.
Indulge Yourself with a Bath
Fibromyalgia flare-ups are often induced by stress, both physical and mental. And winter tends to be stressful (even past the holidays). Baths are fantastic ways to warm up. Not only can they loosen up stiff muscles, but they can also calm the mind. Take it up a level and add some bubbles or bath fragrances, light some candles, and listen to some soft music. Place a warm washcloth over the eyes for total relaxation. Make sure to fully dry off when done, though; evaporating water can actually lower the body temperature.
Use an Infrared Sauna
What better way to warm up than in a sauna? Our infrared sauna offers a pleasant and relaxing way to raise body temperature. The best part is that it’s a mild heat compared to traditional saunas, which means it’s more comfortable and patients can remain in it for longer periods. The lasting effects of the infrared sauna can’t be denied!
Ever wonder why drinking alcohol can make us feel warm? It’s because alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, causing blood to rush to the surface of the skin. However, in the winter, this actually makes us colder. The blood that rushes to the surface cools faster than it would normally when exposed to the cold air, which means the body loses heat faster than it normally would. The result is that the body’s internal temperature tends to dip. So while that hot toddy or hot buttered rum may feel like it’s warming you from the inside, it’s actually doing just the opposite. Instead of alcohol, try to warm up with some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.
Do you or someone you know suffer from fibromyalgia? If so, we can help manage the chronic pain, fatigue, and other related symptoms. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our pain specialists.